2017 – Our Year in Review.

2017 hasn’t been our best year. I’ve been the one who has sucked the joy out of the party like a death eater (Harry Potter reference there, folks). I’ve been the one who when asked how I’m doing, has someone close to me who isn’t doing well. It has been one of those years. Something I’m very conscious of. So from now onwards, let’s focus on the good, or at least try to.

hever castle
In 2017 we took out a Historic Houses Association membership and discovered loads of new places. That was a REALLY good move, and one I’d recommend. We still have our Royal Historic Palaces, English Heritage and National Trust memberships too. We’ve been to Hever Castle and rowed on the lake for my birthday, to visiting Alnwick Castle and doing Harry Potter related things.
Alnwick Castle Broomstick training
Australia will have to be mentioned because, well, it’s Australia. We had an unexpected trip after a death in the family. My work were brilliant, and I managed to work remotely from there while doing everything else. We were able to visit places in between working and I found a happy medium without having to dump everything on my workmates while we were out there. I love Australia and still dream of moving out there one day.
cuddling duck at Coombe Mill

The summer holidays felt like they were a long way away, so when they came it was good to stop.

Coombe Mill was our Cornwall base, followed by Woodspring Farm Hut near Weston Super Mare. It was where H grew in confidence – and she wasn’t pushing herself, just following her own instincts.
Woodspring Farm Hut
H started in Year 4 and for a short while I became “that mum” – the one who insists she stepped out of her comfort zone and attend an after school club, doing Young Voices. Up to now she hadn’t had any interest in singing in public so it was quite a jump. The added bonus was her teachers from last year run it.
She came out having had the most wonderful time and is looking forward to joining lots of other schoolkids and singing at the O2 in January. I’m really looking forward to trying to find her! It works out cheaper than a gig too, so I think it’s a win-win situation.

H is still swimming and switched classes again. By the end of 2017 she had gained her Bronze award. I know she’s ready to move onto a bigger pool and depths, though she has swimming with school this year so we’re holding off until September. At the moment she’s working on her 800 metre badge, so we’ll see how that one goes!
H gets her bronze swimming

It goes without saying, football has played a big part of our lives in 2017.

We worked with the FA to help promote women’s football, and H started playing every weekend with Crystal Palace Wildcats.
SSE Wildcats Girls Football Club, FA Girls' Football Week 2017
She’s starting a new term there from January, has made lots of new friends and they all even got to be mascots at a Crystal Palace Ladies game which was great fun (and very cold). While she may never play football competitively, she’s having so much fun. I like that she’s doing an activity where she didn’t know anyone at all and has made new friends.
We’ve watched Tottenham Ladies a couple of times now and our aim for 2018 is to catch a Tottenham game at Wembley just the once.
We bought a new car in 2017. After having had an old Vauxhall Astra, we switched to a Skoda Fabia. I love it! The car suits me and my driving – it’s not too big and not too small. It fits quite a lot in it and has sensors for parking too. My downfall in our last car was when I reversed into a bollard and dented it…
We took out a PCP deal to buy the car, and with Shaun working from home this meant the money we save in him travelling to the office now pays off the car. We’ll do more trips next year as my biggest problem with getting anywhere was whether our old car could do it. Oh, and we had a carbon monoxide problem with the car too.
Gas Safety Week 2017 poster, 2017
Carbon monoxide. That was a busy week. I was one of the case studies for Gas Safety Week 2017 (it doesn’t mention this blog at all so you wouldn’t know), speaking about my experience of Carbon Monoxide poisoning. I intend to work with Project Shout Co in 2018 too. We have to keep shouting.

Our year ends on a quieter note, with a visit to the Roald Dahl Museum and a trip to see Hogwarts in the Snow at the Warner Brother Studios. There will be reviews to follow in the new year, and always photos on my Instagram.

I get the feeling that while I will never stop blogging, this slower pace of updating is where we are. Essentially I am now working four jobs – my dayjob, this blog, my PTA responsibilities and finally of course the work I do with Brownies as a Leader in Training. Oh, and parenting too.
2018 will be about finding a better balance in my work – home life. We’ll get out more and I’ll blog about it more.
We’ve enjoyed staying in a yurt and a shepherds hut this year. I’d love to think we’ll go camping at some point too.
I never do resolutions, mainly as I’d forget them. We can leave 2017 with our heads held high and know that we’re out of it intact and that’s all that counts.
Happy New Year, and all the best for 2018!

Gas Safety Week 2017 – Keeping Our Nation Safe

Gas Safety Week 2017 – Get Your Gas Appliances Checked by a Gas Safe Registered Engineer.

Gas Safety Week 2017 starts today and is a campaign I’m supporting. I experienced Carbon Monoxide (CO) poisoning over several months, and blogged about it at the time. It was a scary time especially as I didn’t know what was wrong and was putting it down to a nasty virus.

So. How could we let it happen?

Well, we didn’t ‘let’ it happen. There were things we didn’t think about, things we should have known. We know now, and fortunately, came out of it.

Things to be aware of:

• Put CO alarms in every room that has a gas/fossil fuelled appliance and position in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. CO alarms should meet the standard EN 50291.

Tip 5 - Test your CO alarm Gas Safety Week 2017

• Recognise the symptoms of CO poisoning. Every morning I felt like I was hungover. I’d stagger up the road to catch my train for my daily commute, I felt so giddy. While the room didn’t spin, I didn’t feel like I was standing up straight or walking in a straight line. I thought I maybe had an ear infection. I didn’t go to the doctor about it because I was busy.

Tip 6 - Setup a reminder - Gas Safety Week 2017

• Know when your Gas Safety Check is due. Use Stay Gas Safe to help you remember.

Our gas safety check happened on the 2nd April 2016. By then we had been suffering from CO poisoning for almost three months. I still can’t get my head around why I never realised that my family were suffering from this.

This year, Gas Safety Week aims to raise awareness to families on recognising the signs and symptoms of CO poisoning in their family members, especially young children after research has revealed that:

  • A third (32%) of people would not recognise CO poisoning, misdiagnosing symptoms for other illnesses
  • If suffering from CO poisoning, most people know to open the windows (68%), leave the house to get fresh air (74%), and contact a Gas Safe registered engineer to come and see if there’s a problem (42%)
  • One in 10 (9%) don’t know CO poisoning symptoms at all. These symptoms which include headaches, nausea, breathlessness, collapse, dizziness and loss of consciousness. They are often misdiagnosed as:
  • Concussion (37%)
  • Meningitis (36%)
  • A panic attack (27%)
  • A stroke (22%)
  • Flu (19%)

Gas Safety Week 2017 poster
Gas Safe Register is providing three tips to help keep families gas safe at home:

    1. Check appliances annually – an annual gas safety check reminder service can be found at www.StayGasSafe.co.uk. Currently only 54% people get annual gas checks.
    2. Know the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning – although carbon monoxide (CO) has no smell, taste or colour, symptoms of poisoning include: headaches; dizziness; nausea; breathlessness; collapse and loss of consciousness – all of which can be mistaken for something else.
    3. Only employ a qualified Gas Safe registered engineer – you can find a local registered engineer to carry out gas work in your home by calling Gas Safe Register on 0800 408 5500 or by visiting www.GasSafeRegister.co.uk

Gas Safety Week 2017 is taking place from 18 September.
Search #GSW17 on social media for more top tips on how to stay gas safe. To find out about dangers in your area visit www.StayGasSafe.co.uk  and to find a Gas Safe registered engineer call 0800 408 5500 or visit www.GasSafeRegister.co.uk

We went to the ArcelorMittal Orbit on the day we found out, so we’ve decided to add a giveaway element to this post, with a very simple question.
Please see the Rafflecopter widget below.
The prize is a £100 Days Out voucher from BuyaGift.co.uk, and you can choose where to go. I will forward the winner to the PR company who are buying the voucher. This giveaway finishes on Sunday 25th September.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I received a fee for my time for this post for Gas Safety Week 2017.

Gas Safety Week 2017 banner